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The downtime for the damaged LHC has been extended several more months

DailyTech was pleased to report that the the world's largest particle accelerator, CERN's Large Hadron Collider was brought online early this month.  After several successful test firings, the initial testing was going ahead of schedule.  Then the excitement evaporated, with the failure of one of the transformers that cooled the collider.  Without its cooling, researchers could no longer operate the tunnel -- repairs were the only option.

Within a week, the transformer was replaced and hopes were high that firing would recommence.  Then came word that inspections after the repair revealed extensive wiring damage, and that the collider would be offline for 2 months.

With winter fast approaching, the downtime has been extended to 5-6 months, with researchers saying the collider will not be online until the spring.  Located on the Swiss-French border, the collider's repairs will likely be slowed by snowfall and weather.

The LHC is scheduled to shut down each year in mid-November due to these concerns.  It is expected that the repairs will not be complete before the shutdown.  The bad news was announced by spokesman James Gillies of the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

It will take several weeks just to warm up the damaged area from near absolute zero.  Then repairs can begin.  After repairs are complete, a month of rechilling will be neccessary.

The shutdown will end in late March or early April.  The collider is expected to be fully operational and ready for testing by then.

Mr. Gillies described the developments, stating, "They're going to have to open up and really investigate what went on there.  So that's going to be two or three weeks before we can put out something that we're sure of.  We are not going to be done with this before the winter shutdown, so there will be no more beam in the LHC this year."

Aside from technical difficulties the collider has been plagued with criticism, with some even directing death threats towards its scientists.  These individuals fear that the reactor could spell doom for the world with such particles as micro black-holes, despite the fact that the same theory that predicts micro-black holes, predicts they would evaporate almost instantly.




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